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E – 1746 Ethical Issue: Deciding if Something is a Gift or a Bribe

Intended Audience: All Engineers.


In this online engineering PDH course, the ethical issue of where to draw the line between what is a gift and what is a bribe is treated. This issue can be difficult, and it is not surprising that while codes of ethics of professional engineering societies almost always condemn bribery, they provide little or no help in sorting out when a gift constitutes a bribe. Many large corporations publish guidance on when gift giving is appropriate for their employees, but the guidance typically covers only a few cases and is couched in generalities. In contrast, the federal government has formulated detailed rules covering gifts given to executive-branch employees in many situations. The rules are published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and are illustrated through many examples. Even though the examples are intended for government employees (many of whom are engineers), they also apply to private-sector engineers in similar situations. The purpose of this course is to present selected CFR examples that furnish guidance on the ethics of gift giving.

Learning Objectives:

At the successful conclusion of this course, you’ll be able to identify and discuss:

  • Course participants will be able to state definitions of a bribe and a gift.
  • Course participants will be able to give examples of gifts based on a personal relationship.
  • Course participants will be able to give examples in which gifts to spouses may be accepted and where they may not be accepted.
  • Course participants will be able to give examples of ethical considerations involving free attendance at meetings and conferences.
  • Course participants will be able to explain the appropriate procedure for disposing of dis-allowed gifts.

Course Reviews


3 ratings
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  1. Informative course


    Course is informative and gives great guidelines to follow. Could this possible be formatted to a Power Point or video to make subject matter more interesting?

  2. Misspellings


    There were several misspellings in the questions and answers of this exam.

  3. Good Course and Material


    Worthwhile course to take for meeting PDH requirements.


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